May 21, 2018 / 5:13 PM / 3 months ago

Light frosts seen in Brazil's corn areas; drought persists in cane belt

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Light frosts were reported in some corn areas in southern Brazil on Monday as a cold front pushed through the country’s center-south, while scattered rains during the weekend provided some relief for the cereal, although worries persist for cane.

According to meteorologists and data from Thomson Reuters Agricultural Weather Dashboard, frosts were reported in the south and west of Paraná state, Brazil’s second-largest grain producer, but with low potential for any damage.

There were also reports of very light frosts in lowland areas in São Paulo and Minas Gerais, big producers of coffee and sugar, but with low potential for damaging crops.

“Nothing significant,” a Minas coffee broker told Reuters.

The main worry continues to be related to dry weather and its impact on corn and cane fields.

Rains during the weekend were in good volumes in southern Parana, but were below expected levels in São Paulo and Minas Gerais. Forecasts for rains in the final part of May have sharply diminished.

“It is not so much the frost, but the drought that worries people,” said Carlos Hugo Godinho, an agronomist at Parana’s agricultural research agency Deral.

He said rains in the western part of the state mitigated the effects of the drought for some corn areas, but the situation was still critical for crops in the northern part of Paraná.

“The polar mass advancing through much of the country this week will leave most areas with clear skies, with no forecast for rains in most of the country,” said Marco Antonio dos Santos, an agrimeteorologist at Rural Clima.

Santos said rains reached most corn areas, including the center-west, and would likely allow for some recovery of fields that lost yield potential recently due to excessive dryness.

Rural Clima does not expect more frosts in the coming days, saying temperatures, although cold at the moment, are expected to rise in coming days.

For the cane belt, rains were somewhat disappointing, according to the available data. The Ribeirão Preto area saw only some showers, in low volumes. The situation continues to add to expectations of reduced cane volumes in the final part of the current crop, in the second half.

Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira, José Roberto Gomes and Ana Mano; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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